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The President of the European Central Bank is the head of the European Central Bank (ECB), the institution responsible for the management of the euro and monetary policy in the Eurozone of the European Union (EU).


Role and appointment

The President heads the executive board, governing council and general council of the ECB. He also represents the bank abroad, for example at the G20. The President is appointed by majority in the European Council, de facto by those who have adopted the euro, for an eight-year non-renewable term. However the first President, Duisenberg, did not serve his full term.


The French interpretation of the agreement made with the installation of Wim Duisenberg (who previously headed the European Monetary Institute) as President of the ECB was that Duisenberg would resign after just four years of his eight year term, and would be replaced by the French Jean-Claude Trichet. Duisenberg always strongly denied that such an agreement was made and stated in February 2002 that he would stay in office until his 68th birthday on 9 July 2003.

In the meanwhile Jean-Claude Trichet was not cleared of legal accusations before 1 June 2002, so he was not able to begin his term after Duisenberg's first four years. Even on 9 July 2003 Trichet was not cleared, and therefore Duisenberg remained in office until 1 November 2003. Duisenberg died on the 31 July 2005.

During his tenure, Trichet has had to fend off criticism from French President Nicolas Sarkozy who demanded a more growth-orientated policy at the ECB. Germany supported Trichet in demanding the bank's independence be respected.[1] Trichet's strengths lie in keeping consensus and visible calm in the ECB, something which may affect the choice of his successor. As of March 2010, there are two main candidates: Axel Weber (head of the Deutsche Bundesbank) and Mario Draghi (head of the Banca d'Italia).[2]


List of presidents since the establishment of the bank on 1 June 1998.

President Nationality Previous work Took office Left office Portrait
1 Wim Duisenberg Netherlands Dutch Dutch Minister of Finance
President of De Nederlandsche Bank
President of the European Monetary Institute
1 June 1998 31 October 2003 Wim Duisenberg.jpg
2 Jean-Claude Trichet France French Member of the Group of Thirty
Governor of the Banque de France
31 October 2003 incumbent Jean-Claude Trichet - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2010.jpg

Vice Presidents

Vice President Christian Noyer was only appointed for four years so that his resignation would coincide with the expected resignation of Duisenberg. His successor is Lucas Papademos, who is granted an eight year term.

Vice President Nationality Previous Work Took office Left Office
1 Christian Noyer France French Civil servant, advisor and head of the treasury
At French finance ministry
1 June 1998 31 May 2002
2 Lucas Papademos Greece Greek Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Chief Economist of the Bank of Greece
31 May 2002 incumbent
3 Vítor Constâncio Portugal Portuguese Secretary-general of the Socialist Party
Governor of the Banco de Portugal
31 May 2010 (designate)


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